Speaking in advance of meetings with senior EU Commission officials in Brussels tomorrow and Friday, IFA President John Bryan highlighted three critical issues of concern for farmers on the Single Farm Payment, which he said must be addressed before the publication of the EU Commission’s formal proposals on reform of the CAP post-2013 on October 12.
John Bryan said, “The proposal for a new reference year in 2014 is creating major uncertainty for farmers. With over 800,000 hectares of land rented annually, speculation around a future reference period will cause unnecessary destabilisation in the land market.” He said Minister Coveney must ensure this major distraction is removed from the formal proposals next month.
The IFA President said Ireland must be given the flexibility in the agreement to deal effectively with the EU Commission proposal for a flat-rate payment by 2019, as this proposal will seriously undermine Irish agriculture and is totally unacceptable.
With thousands of farmers visiting the IFA stand at the Ploughing Championships, he said 95% of them were clear in their view that a flat rate per-hectare payment is a non-runner as will cause major disruption at farm level, impacting negatively on the production and viability of their farm family businesses.
Mr Bryan said it was totally irresponsible to promote a flat-rate system without explaining fully to farmers the implications of such a system. The reality of a flat-rate payment across the country is that the vast majority of active, productive farmers would lose.
In addition, the proposal will have a very damaging effect on the agri-food industry, jobs, exports and agriculture’s contribution to economic recovery, and will jeopardise the sector’s potential to achieve the targets set out in Food Harvest 2020.
The IFA President said, “The Commission’s proposals on greening, which include requirements for crop rotation, permanent pasture and the maintenance of ecological focus areas, are excessive and extremely rigid. They have the potential to undermine farmers’ business decisions and investment plans, and will also create a whole new level of bureaucracy and red-tape.”
John Bryan said the EU Commission must address these fundamental issues on CAP reform before their official proposals are published on October 12th, and he called on the Minister to act with urgency.